Standby vs. Hibernation

How do you shut your computer down?

A very common question that I encounter is the following, "Should I use Standby, or Hibernation"?  Or, even more specifically, what is the difference between Standby and Hibernation?

Standby mode turns off your laptop's monitor and other devices that use power, however the hard drive remains spinning and your operating system remains active.  To bring a computer out of standby, simply move the mouse or press a key on the keyboard.

Hibernation mode saves your system state (whatever is currently open on your computer) to disk and actually powers down the computer.  When you want to use the computer, simply press the power button and within 10-15 seconds, the computer is back up and running as it was before hibernation.

I generally recommend hibernation over standby mode for the following reasons:

1)  Hibernation conserves laptop battery power since the PC is actually powered down

2)  Hibernation keeps the laptop cool (if you put a laptop into standby mode and then place it in a bag, it may overheat due to lack of circulation)

3)  Hibernation saves the system state, as opposed to standby, which does not.  If your laptop battery dies while in standby, you will lose your work

Sometimes, hibernation is disabled for whatever reason.  To enable hibernation:

Windows XP: Choose Start --> (Settings) --> Control Panel --> Display --> Screen Saver (Tab) --> Power (Button) --> Hibernate (Tab) --> (check) Enable Hibernation.  Then, press OK.

Windows 7: Click the Start Menu, and then type cmd in the Start Search box > In the search results list, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as Administrator > At the command prompt (a black screen), type "powercfg.exe /hibernate on" (without the quotes) > press ENTER > Close the command prompt window.

Now, you are ready to hibernate!  Go to the Start Menu --> Shut Down --> and choose Hibernate.  If you do not see it as an available option, press the left shift key on your keyboard and it will appear.  Happy hibernating!


Jeffrey Atto, C.O.O.  Concise Computer Consulting

2350 Franklin Road Suite #120

Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302



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